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Dispatches from San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H line

Depending on who you ask, the line for Hall H is either a unique bonding experience or a nightmarish hellscape. 


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 26, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 9:30 pm CDT

If you’re familiar with San Diego Comic-Con lore, then the phrase “Hall H” probably strikes a sense of awe and terror into your heart. If not, then the simplest explanation is that when you see photos of people sleeping on the floor at Comic-Con, it’s probably because they’re queueing for Hall H.

Hall H is the biggest theatre at SDCC, and it’s where all the biggest movie panels take place. For the past few years, the evening time slot has been dominated by Marvel Studios, leading to iconic geek-culture moments like the unveiling of the Avengers cast, or Tom Hiddleston showing up to give a speech in-character as Loki. This weekend, the hot tickets are Marvel (again), The Hobbit (Benedict Cumberbatch!), and the pilot episode of DC Entertainmant’s Gotham.

Last year, more than 130,000 people went to SDCC, and the queue for Hall H was estimated to be more than a mile long. In order to get in to see one of the major panels in the evening, you have to queue all night, then wait inside the hall through whatever panels happen beforehand.

The wonders of @HallHLine. #SDCC

— Pablo (@elmachas) July 26, 2014

The Hall H queue has become such an infamously marathon-like exercise that managing to get inside the hall itself is considered an impressive feat. The Twitter account @HallHLine reports on nothing but that queue, updating conventiongoers on celebrity sightings and weird goings-on during the long, long wait for the Hall H doors to open.

After throwing up four times, @HallHLine wins. Headed home to bed and nourishment. Maybe I’ll see you tonight in the Gaslamp.

— Rachel (@keeptolove) July 26, 2014

Depending on who you ask, the line for Hall H is either a unique bonding experience for likeminded fanboys and fangirls, or it’s a nightmarish hellscape where you spend the night trying to sleep on the ground while surrounded by over-caffeinated, unwashed nerds.

Either way, you’re queueing for a good 24 hours or so, just to get into a gigantic aircraft hangar of a convention hall, where celebrities and filmmakers will promote their latest movie to you. And that queue starts so early that this year there were people forming a secret early queue, which sounds like an Onion parody of Comic-Con, but is in fact a real thing. The woman at the front of that secret queue showed up at 4pm on Thursday to get in line for the Marvel panel on Saturday evening. Now that’s dedication.

@HallHLine My God, Hall H Line, what hath thou done?!

— TheNerdyProfessor (@mickeyjack3) July 26, 2014

The highlight for people queueing on Friday night was Hobbit stars Lee Pace and Andy Serkis showing up to sign autographs and take selfies at 3am. Most of the fans were huddled up under sleeping bags and blankets by then, but they were still happy to get an early reward for their epic queuing abilities.

I still find it fantastic that Lee Pace and Andy Serkis walked the @HallHLine at 3am last night photobombing sleeping campers. #Legends

— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrausoMP) July 26, 2014

.@leepace at @HallHLine at @Comic_Con and I look crazy but he is soooo cute ~KW

— The Nerd Element (@TheNerdElement) July 26, 2014

This kind of surprise celebrity appearance is getting more and more common at Comic-Con, like medieval royalty bestowing a brief laying-on of hands to the common people. But if you’re the kind of person who has the tenacity to queue for Hall H, then this is what you’re waiting for. This, and the chance to get in on those panels and trailers before everyone else, and breathe the same air as Batman and the Avengers. Just don’t lose your Hall H wristband like this guy, and you should be fine.

Warner Bros panel already made the @hallhline worth it

— Maggie Hart (@Hart4Film) July 26, 2014

Photo via gageskidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Jul 26, 2014, 1:13 pm CDT